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Gov. Jerry Brown wants to eliminate the seven-member board that hears appeals on unemployment insurance benefits -- whose members are often termed-out California legislators -- and turn their work over to civil service administrative law judges.

But the Legislature's budget analyst, Mac Taylor, says that eliminating the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, whose members are appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, would erode legislative oversight of the appeals process.

Taylor, in a new report to the Legislature, agrees that unemployment insurance appeals should be heard by state administrative judges, but says the board should remain intact, albeit with two fewer members, to oversee the appeals process and set overall policy for benefits. He also recommends that salaries of the remaining five board members be lowered from $128,112 a year to $114,000, the same as the administrative judges, and that members meet the same qualification standards as the judges.

Finally, he suggests that the governor, who now appoints five members of the board, get three appointments while each legislative house continues to have one appointee each. Although the board has seven positions, it has had only five members - three of them former legislators - since last fall.

Brown's proposal and Taylor's alternative will be part of deliberations on a 2012-13 budget.


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